Nature Spirits: Intaglio Prints and Mixed Media
by Joanne Ehrich

Nature Spirits: Intaglio Prints and Mixed Media by Joanne Ehrich

First edition; Softbound; 70 pages, 8' x '8; (20cm x 20cm) August 8, 2011; ISBN-10: 1441411151; ISBN-13: 978-1441411150; Category: Art/Prints.

Oversized Hardcover
(12" x 12"):

Download free nature quotess excerpt.

The visual expressions featured in Nature Spirits: Intaglios and Mixed Media were designed to showcase the beauty all around us if we tune in to our environment with greater awareness. By recognizing the inherent value of "nurture" within nature, we give ourselves permission to acknowledge a more authentic self; this can in turn into living more purposeful lives, benefitting all areas of existence.

The nature etching catalogue raisonné was rounded out by accompanying quotes by famous nature loversuniquely befitting of each image. Inspirations come from authors of all walks of life, such as the likes of John Muir, Albert Einstein, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Peter Singer, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Nature Spirits was originally a printmaking portfolio showcasing Ehrich's intaglio etchings of animals and landscapes. Over time, a distinct theme evolved, the collection of animal and nature artwork segued into different media, from mezzotints and aquatints to oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, drawings, monotype prints and computer vector art.

In keeping with the intaglio printmaking look-and-feel, all sepia-toned or colored images were converted to grayscale for a more seamless presentation that can be enjoyed in this book, as limited edition etchings, or as framed giclée art prints.

David Lang, Writer, California, USA: Sometimes when we try to calm our souls, we try hard not to stimulate our minds—as if the soul and mind were separate things needing to be balanced, one against the other. Joanne Ehrich's Nature Spirits manages to calm the spirit and provoke the intellect at the same time. I do not know what term others might use for this state of consciousness, but I call it enlightenment. Achieving this in a book is not an easy thing to do, and Ehrich succeeds wonderfully at it.

Her book combines her own original artwork with thoughts and reflections on the natural world from a wide variety of sources including poets, philosophers, theologians, and public figures as disparate as Charles Lindbergh and Dale Carnegie. She does not, however, merely use her art to illustrate the thoughts—though she does that quite well. Rather, she displays the words on the page in such a way that each thought is an artistic echo of the illustration facing it on the opposite page.

Her drawing of a large fish swimming amongst several small fish is accompanied by a Peter Singer quote: "All the arguments to prove man's superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering, the animals are our equal." The display of superiority in distinct, widely spaced letters gives the word—and concept—feeling of brittleness. Seeing hard fact in bold font punches you a bit, as it very well should. And the display of equal in a graceful long hand gives the word the sense of an intimate power. The quote is spread out over three lines too, echoing the different layers of the sea.

Sometimes the integration between words and picture is simpler, and it can make you laugh. A drawing of woods seen from an open field is matched with a quote in which the word woods is presented in very large font, towering, like trees, above the flat letters of the other open words. In another drawing, the quiet steadiness of the eyes of an owl is matched with a steady, calm font used for a simple quote from Art Buchwald: 'The best things in life aren't things." It is a direct, unadorned thought and so are the eyes of that owl.

This integrative approach to words and image encourages a deep and calming focus of the mind and heart rather than the dreamy, ultimately stressful, unfocused state which is often encouraged in lesser volumes of this type. I highly recommend this book, and if you are the kind of person who thinks this sort of thing is not for you, then I especially recommend this book to you.


Joanne Ehrich attended photography trade school and holds a University degree in art with emphasis on printmaking. She created numerous etchings, lithographs, and monotype prints, as well as paintings of animals and landscapes, and was one among a hundred artists selected for "Sharkbyte Art," a public shark sculpture project on display in the streets of San Jose, California in 2001. The project was covered in the coffee table book American Art Parades. The experience of being part of a larger-than-life project culminating in a charity auction spurned a desire to organize a similar event of her own. Her talents took a different turn in 2004 when she founded Koala Jo Publishing, which is aimed at helping with wildlife preservation.

There she wrote, designed, and published eleven books centered around one of the world's most beloved animals—the koala. She also designed and produced themed merchandise for her publishing company. For her first book, Koalas: Moving Portraits of Serenity, she recruited 120 photographers from 24 countries, resulting in a masterpiece that garnered over fifty five-star reviews and was named "...the best collection of koala images" by the American Library Association. This venture into publishing was not solely an artistic outlet; sales of another Koala Jo title, as well as koala-themed merchandise, contribute to the Australian Wildlife Hospital for the care of koalas and other Australian animals.